Brevity is the soul of wit

Glencoe Park

Temperature: 82F/28C Wind: 11mph SE Observations: Cloudy

Glencoe Park isn't the largest in the area, but it's still fairly sizable. The grass is in a perpetually well-trimmed state, shining a healthy green year round. Near the southern entrance to the park is a playground cluster filled with swings, a merry-go-round, seesaws, huge forts, and a jungle-gym. Not too far from the playground are fields for both rugby and softball, enclosed by wire fences so that children don't run haphazardly onto the fields. Further into the park is a walking path through a small forested area.

It's getting darker earlier, now that autumn has fallen. The sun sets quickly over the horizon, bringing a chill to the air where once the sun warmed it, if only a little, during the day. The beginning of the week means there are few that linger and remain in the park; dinner calls most to their homes. It is only the passing few that choose to take their power-walks and such before retiring for the evening. Even the college students that once dotted the fields during the day have disappeared.
While Dallas doesn't roll up their sidewalks once nightfall hits, it's not truly a 24/7 city either. Ebbs and flows.
The vampires of the city, however, are out and about. Once the sun dips and the stars come to shine, they wake from their sleep and walk again; conducting business, sharing with old friends and new..
Life resumes again. After a fashion.
Within the confines of this park, there are a few people milling about, broken up in threes here and there, walking, talking. Within one group, there seems to be one set slightly to the side, watching the discussion between two others, silent if only for the moment. Once one speaks, then the other, the pair look expectantly at the third, a tall, blonde gentleman, dressed almost completely in black. A single nod comes from that third Vampire, Marius Schlachter, and points to one of the pair.. the first that spoke and while lips move, the sound doesn't carry far at all…

Derek, or "Al" as his friends know him is out in the park doing what he does best, being as far away from everyone else as possible. He walks down the trail through the park alone, not power walking but instead carrying a very large, very heavy bag of fertilizer on his shoulder. He's wearing his work overalls, blue jean material, worn with use, stained with earth and the smell of fresh soil. On his knees are knee-pads that he uses while on the job. Brown leather gloves cover his hands and he talks to himself as he walks, or at least that's what it looks like at first but no, he's not a crazy person he has a blue tooth ear phone in his ear, "Yeah, I got one more on the west side then I'm calling it a day. I have wild night planned. I got the last season of Dexter on DVD. I'm going to catch up tonight while I plant those bulbs for the arboretum's west quarter renewal." then the person on the other end of the phone says, "Oh, you're such a wild man! How ever do you live such a sinful life?" which makes Al laugh, "Yeah, yeah, I know I'm not out chasing tail but." he says as she pauses to shift the weight from one shoulder to the other, "I figure when the right person comes, I won't be distracted. Now go home and enjoy your floozy." then there is a laugh and the guy on the other end says, "Sure thing, Boss." then he hangs up and the light on the ear-phone goes off.
Not exactly a master of stealth by any streach of the imagination and if the conversation didn't alaert the vampires to him the baby blue, buttom up shirt against the park green will.

A head lifts, cold, dead blue eyes scan the area quickly before the pair of vampires are 'dismissed' with a curt nod. Marius steps forward and away from the spot, his hands dropping into his pockets, giving him something of a casual look. His expression is impassive, however, completely devoid of expression as he makes his way across the short distance that lies between himself and the 'gardener'.
Seeming to pass the breather, Marius instead slows and studies the man briefly before he addresses him, voice soft and holding a somewhat heavy german accent, "What grows properly in this soil?"

The gardener in question stops and looks over at the stranger, "Well, it depends on if you mean for food or for gardening and if you mean in this soil." he says and then points to the bag on his shoulder, "Or this soil." then he smiles and starts to cover all possible meanings of the question. First he launches into farming the land for food and talks about the importance of measuring the toxicity of the land before you plant, especially after Katrina and then, if he isn't stopped he'll talk about what vegetables grow best at what times of year and then if he still isn't stopped he'll move on to plants which people plant for visual appeal such as flowers. He just talks and talks and talks and he sounds like he really knows what he is talking about often making side trips into the science behind the techniques but he seems unphased by the heavy bag on his shoulder as he lectures on the proper use of hanging gardens to grow tomatoes. He's obviously born and bread as a farmer with fingers that are callused and a tan line around his shirt collar. Strong, tight muscles and a heart that pumps like a steam engine.

Marius stares, and just before the launch into the lecture regarding the proper care and feeding of roots, he holds his hand up in the air while interjecting, "The soil. Beneath our feet." His words come slowly, enunciating each word slowly. "I wish to know what crop can be grown easily." He crouches briefly and takes a handful of dirt, but not before pulling some grass up and out of the way to do so. Rising once again, he holds it out, his fingers crumbling the clods and letting it fall back to the earth. "I care not of the 'how'.. simply the 'which'."

Al says, "Ah, then.." and he makes a list of what crops, the edible kind would best grow in the environment. He talks about the soil in the area lacking specific nutrients do to the stripping of the land in the past and he says the best way to replenish the missing essentials is to keep chickens. He explains you can keep chickens in a coop between growth season and if the coup is made properly so that it is mobile you can move the chickens around so they not only remove the insects that trouble the crops but fertilize the grounds between planting. Also you can feed your family the eggs to supplement the gardening in the lean seasons and no need for toxic chemicals.
He then goes and recommends a feed store in town where you can find bio-engineered grains and corn that are designed to survive in harsh land like this to get started. A little more expensive as seed goes but the first harvest on a plot of land is important because it sets the foundation for the future growth. All the while he stands there only shifting the weight on his shoulders a few times explaining things.
Asking him not to explain the how is like asking a scientist to just explain how you make jello without explaining the chemistry. He can't help himself.

Marius is not a very patient man; the explanations he requires must be short and as complete as possible without being overly so. His hand rises once again to signal to the man that he really should cease. "I need not concern myself with the balance of the soil. That will be done by the field hands. All I require is what grows in this land."
Should Derek continue, Marius turns his back to the breather to depart.. information gained. "I will consider this information."

Derek can see he's rambling and he says, "My apologies. I teach this stuff at the arboretum some times and I tend to go on." then he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a card looking down at it he realizes it's the wrong one and then reaches into another pocket and pulls out another of his cards this one white where the previous one was green. He offers the white one. "I'm Al, Al Parker. If you need any help or have any questions give me a call. A lot has changed around here lately. Unexpected problems pop up all the time. Anything I can do to help let me know." he says to the stranger. On the card it shows him as a gardener at the arboretum, "I promise, I won't ramble like this all the time. I've just had a.. weird day." he says looking thoughtful for a moment.

Marius pauses in his departure to turn around to look at the man. Reaching out to take the card, he looks at it briefly before putting it into his pocket. "Answering a question as asked and no further is usually best." Volunteering more? Well, that is both good and bad. "I will have someone call you should it be required."
Though, problems? As a .. gardener? "What 'unexpected' problems occur for the plants?" It's a question he's certain he'll regret, "Or are they problems within the park?" And have nothing to do with plants, perhaps?

Derek lets the bag slump down his chest, then his leg and come to rest on his boot. He reaches up to rub the back of his neck, "It's nothing." he says looking up at the trees, "It's just, maybe I'm crazy but the city feels different lately. Like something is boiling under the streets. The plants.." he doesn't want to say seem nervous because that is crazy talk, "The whole city actually, it just feels like there is something coming. Something bad…" he says still looking up at the tress as if there might be some answer rustling through the branches he could catch, "Like I said, it's noth'n." he says more to himself than to the stranger. "Don't mind me, I'm just working too much, you know how it is." he says and gives a nervous chuckle.

There is a moment when the vampire is still as a statue, his gaze locked upon the breather. Canting his head slightly, his eyes narrow in a human expression of curiosity. "Are you a seer?" He's met at least one.. two, perhaps? "There are those that wish to begin a war against my kind." In case the lamb isn't aware of what he is, perhaps it is cleared up in that statement? "Have you not seen the attacks against us?"
A hand reaches into his dark jacket to pull out a piece of charred wood, and it is quickly replaced. "From a burnt cross."

Derek looks back down and says, "Seer? No I just.." then he hears the rest of what the man says and takes a step back, like any sane person a little scared for a moment, "Oh.. Yeah, I've seen the news.." he says even more nervous now, "I don't have anything to do with that stuff. I make it a point not to be involved with people who can get me killed, including crazy human cults." he says like he is just as wary of the sun-nuts as he is of vampires. Can that be a good sign that people are just as afraid of them as they are of the undead?
Looking at the wood in the vampire's hand Derek ponders something for a second and says, "Can I see that?" meaning the fragment of wood. Sure, like the vampire if going to hand the stranger a stake.. Once he realized what he asked the man says, "Wait, yeah, stupid question, right. "

"Crazy human cults," Marius repeats, and he inclines his head. "That is a good description of them. They seek to bring you into a war that cannot be won." A simple statement of fact as far as the vampire is concerned.
At the request for the charred piece of wood, the blonde German shakes his head. "This wood was from a burned cross, blessed by a priest." And a vampire is carrying it? "It stays with me." Until it's plunged into the breather that lit the cross on fire in front of Medieval Times, that is. "Why do you wish to see the splinter?" Curiosity strikes once more.

Derek says, "There is this big, long, complicated answer but to put it simply, at it's most basic level trees, and by extension, stakes are a substance which absorb the energy of death and transform it into the energy of life. Trees spend their whole existence absorbing sunlight and changing what would kill most forms of life into things that most forms of life need to survive." he explains as he kneels down and motions to the roots of the trees close by. "Which is why they kill vampires. They break the mojo that is binding you to death. However, and more importantly in this case, while trees absorb death they also absorb emotions and memories. If you know how to ask them, they might know something. It usually takes a whole tree to tell a story but the greater the emotion the greater the impression. So if you want my help with narrowing down your suspects I can try and ask around the next time there is a burning. If you call me I can drive out to where it happens and see what the trees can tell me." he offers, "But don't spread that around. I don't just do it for any one. Crazy cultists make my list of good causes to stop."

A seer, then. After a fashion. Or the city's version of the 'town idiot'. Marius isn't all that sure which it is, and after meeting seers and witches and.. twin-souled, there is really nothing that he can truly discount.
"If you hold the stake," he makes no move to remove it once more from his jacket, mind, "there is the possibility that you can discern who it was that fashioned the cross." If he's understanding it all correctly, that is. American English is not his strong suit, though he is getting better. Slowly.
"I have your card. I will consider what you say.. and you may hear from me should there be another incident."

Derek stands again and says, "I doubt the shard would be enough and living trees make better recorders anyway. So yeah, call me when there is another one." mind you, not if, when. Because they both know there will be, "Also, there is a condition: If you want my services you can't tell me what you are going to do to the cultists. They are crazy, dangerous and unpredictable but I don't want to know what is going to happen to them. I'll feel bad enough about this already. So you're going to tell me that you're going to have a nice talk with them and settle it peacefully and I'm going to lie to myself. Agreed?" he says as he stands up and dusts his hands off. Working with a vampire.. stupid people going to burn down the city making him work with a vampire..!!

"We turn them over to the proper authorities." The vampire makes it sound vaguely plausible.
"There is no reason to feel 'badly' about this. These lambs know not what they are doing, and place everyone in harm's way." Marius offers the man a hint of a smile, simply the barest raising of the sides of his mouth, and inclines his head. "You need not lie to yourself and I do not lie. It will be as I say." The proper authorities.
"I must needs depart. I will pass this information on to one who requires it.. and now that you can be contacted, I am certain that you shall be." Now Marius turns once more and begins his path back across the field from whence he'd come.

Derek takes a deep breath as the vampire leads. With his sharp ears he can hear the man say, "I must be crazy! This is your fault dad! You never trained me on vampires." he then he picks up the sack and starts to head towards his last tree of the day, "Maybe he will turn them over to the cops but they have to get the pyros off the street. They won't stop at burning crosses. They'll be burning people next. Vampire sympathizers, I can see it now… Wait… crap, I am one now.. F***!!" he swears as he heads back to work.

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